Willow Ptarmigan Family

Willow Ptarmigan Female

Yesterday as Jonathan and I were coming down from Picnic Rock on Mt. Verstovia, I happened to spot a ptarmigan right beside the trail. As it turned out, it was a whole Willow Ptarmigan Family. There was both a male and female along with what appeared to be two chicks. The chicks were pretty good at hiding, so it is possible that there were more of them and we did not realize it.

Next to the trail it appeared there was a shallow depression. It seems unlikely the birds had nested there with so many people walking by, but it did look like they had been using it. The female was the least timid of the group. She did seem to be a little bit concerned with us, but on more than one occasion as I watched and photographed her, she approached me to within arms reach. The male preferred to hang back underneath the stunted trees, though on a couple of occasions he came out more into the open. Both the male and the female were making a gurgling sort of call, with the pitch of the male’s call being distinctly lower than that of the female. The chicks were very quick and difficult to get pictures of. Jonathan had a brief good look at them in the open, but I was never able to see them well without vegetation obscuring the view.

Willow Ptarmigan Chick

Leave a Reply